The 5 Best Halong Bay Cruises [2024 Reviews]

Located in northeast Vietnam, Halong Bay is an UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Magnificent green waters, countless islands, thick rainforests, and much more are here to explore in Halong Bay.

Limestone mountains and caves allow for great climbing opportunities, while boat tours let you take it all in without breaking a sweat. Taking a tour is one of the best ways to see the area, as you’ll be with a local guide who knows all of the best spots to show you.

We have all the top Halong Bay cruises right here, so buckle up and get ready for the ride! See sure to see our reviews of Ha Giang Loop Motorbike Tours and Hanoi City Tours.

Best Halong Bay Tours

Halong Luxury Day Tour- Six Hour CruiseHalong Bay cruise 2 days 1 nightAmazing Sails - Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi
editors choice
Halong Luxury Day Tour- 6 Hour CruiseHalong Bay cruise 2 days 1 nightAmazing Sails - Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi
Departure:Hotel pickup available / Hoàn Kiếm, HanoiHotel and port pickup available / 62 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, HanoiHotel pickup and drop-off available
Start:8:45 am8:00 am8:00 am
Duration:10 hours2 days12 hours
Includes:Round trip transportation, set menu lunch, tour guide, day cruise Overnight accommodation, English speaking guide, air-conditioned vehicle, sunset party, cooking class, bottled water, mealsAir-conditioned vehicle, lunch, all fees and taxes, English speaking guide, boat trip - sharing traditional boutique cruise

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Halong Bay Cruises For 2024

  1. Halong Luxury Day Tour- 6 Hour Cruise
  2. Halong Bay cruise 2 days 1 night
  3. Amazing Sails – Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi
  4. Halong Bay Deluxe Day Tour
  5. Ha Long Bay Cruise Day Tour From Hanoi

Halong Bay Cruise Reviews

1. Halong Luxury Day Tour- 6 Hour Cruise

Halong Luxury Day Tour- 6 Hour Cruise

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available / Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
  • Departure Time: 8:45 am
  • Includes: Round trip transportation, set menu lunch, tour guide

Let’s start things off on the right foot with the Halong Luxury Day Tour – 6 Hour Cruise! If you’re looking for a fantastic way to see Vietnam’s natural beauty in-depth, we can’t recommend this one enough.

This well-organized tour is one of the most convenient ways of exploring the area, with seamless transportation and professional guides.

Lasting 10 hours long, you’ll have the entire day for learning and seeing some of the most beautiful sites in the world. Your day starts off by getting picked up either at your accommodations or at a location in central Hanoi. It’s all up to your preferences.

Your transportation there is an 18-seater coach with air-conditioning and large windows for prime viewing. AC is crucial, because it can get sweltering hot over here. Head along the highway to Halong Bay, taking a rest around noon to stretch your legs.

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Once you arrive to the bay, you’ll receive a safety briefing on what to expect and how to stay safe. Get ready for a 5-hour journey that will take you through uninhabited islets, including Trong Mai/Cock Fighting and Thumb/Ngon Tay Islet.

The former looks like two roosters fighting or “kissing”, while the latter looks like a giant thumb emerging from the water. Speaking of the waters, they themselves are incredible to enjoy. When the timing is just right, there’s a layer of a mystical fog that sits on top, creating an otherworldly experience.

You’ll be served a delicious lunch to enjoy as you cruise the emerald waters. Arrive at Surprising Cave around 1:45, where you’ll get to explore a bit before going either kayaking or by bamboo boat in Luon Cave. After, ascend Titov Peak for unmatched panoramic views of the bay.


 More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

2. Halong Bay cruise 2 days 1 night

Halong Bay cruise 2 days 1 night

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Departure: Hotel and port pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 8:00 am
  • Includes: Overnight accommodation, English speaking guide, air-conditioned vehicle, sunset party, cooking class, bottled water, meals

Perhaps the idea of a bay cruise sounds wonderful, but you’d like to go all-in and really explore the area more in-depth. If that sounds like fun to you, check out the Halong Bay Cruise 2 Days 1 Night tour. For what you receive, the price can’t be beat, and the quality is consistently high.

Right from the start, you’ll have all transportation and transfers included so there’s no need to worry about booking transportation on your own. What you pay for includes all of the necessities as well, so there’s no need to shell out more cash for meals, beverages, and things like that.

This tour is one where you do get quite a lot of input in what you do, but if not, you’ll just go on the previously-planned tour schedule. The guides are very friendly and offer all kinds of intriguing facts and anecdotes relating to the landmarks you come across.

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You’ll be picked up at your accommodations in the morning, and head over to Ha Long Bay. Day one includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with coffee, bottled water, and more. You’ll be kayaking, visiting caves, and just seeing everything the bay has to offer.

The next day includes a cooking class where you’ll learn about traditional Vietnamese dishes. After, celebrate life and your adventures with a beautiful sunset party!

If you’re on the hunt for a comprehensive tour in the Vietnamese rainforests, this one should be at the top of your list. You’ll learn and see so much, while learning from a local who knows all of the hidden gems most tourists don’t get to see.


 More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

3. Amazing Sails – Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi

Amazing Sails - Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 8:00 am
  • Includes: Air-conditioned vehicle, lunch, all fees and taxes, English speaking guide, boat trip – sharing traditional boutique cruise

If you’re looking for a traditional experience that will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time, look no further. The Amazing Sails – Luxury Halong Bay Day Trip from Hanoi is majestic, beautiful, and unlike any other in the world.

Lasting 12 hours long, they sure pack in a lot – from kayaking to venturing through caves there’ll never be a dull moment. Start off your day by getting picked up at 8 am from your hotel or other accommodations. The air-conditioned vehicle is spacious and comfortable, no matter what the weather is like that day.

Your guide speaks great English, and is always happy to answer any questions you may have. Set off right to the Ha Long Bay, enjoying interesting stories and sightseeing along the way. Once you arrive to the bay, you’ll receive a safety briefing and hop on your cruise along the magnificent green waters.

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 As you cruise along between the towering limestone mountains, you’ll be served a delicious lunch! After fueling up, arrive at Surprising Cave where you’ll experience ancient formations of stalagmites and stalactites.

After walking around, step into either a kayak or bamboo boat in Luon Cave, where you’ll see the gorgeous lagoon from a more personal perspective. You can choose to sunbathe on the deck of the boat instead, if you’d like.

Everyone loves visiting Titov Island afterward, complete with a sandy beach and stunning bay views. If you feel up to it, hike up to the top for incomparable panoramic views or take a dip in the waters down below.


 More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

4. Halong Bay Deluxe Day Tour

Halong Bay Deluxe Day Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 12 to 13 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 8:30 am
  • Includes:Air-conditioned vehicle, lunch, all fees and taxes, bottled water, English-speaking guide, kayaking and bamboo boat

Perhaps these tours sound inticing to you, but you’re on a tighter budget. If so, you have to check out the Halong Bay Deluxe Day Tour. You aren’t going to find anything for this level of quality for this great of a deal anywhere else!

Lasting 12 to 13 hours depending on weather, traffic, and other external factors, this is a full day of adventuring and seeing some of the prettiest places in the world. That’s certainly saying a lot, considering how beautiful Vietnam is already.

This tour is another excellent choice for those who are on short trips and want to pack in as much as possible.Start off by getting picked up from your hotel or other accommodations in the Hanoi Old Quarter zone. They’re very punctual and always arrive anywhere from 8:45 to 9:00 am.

You’ll head straight to Halong Bay, where you’ll hop aboard a vessel and cruise through the brilliant green waters to Tuan Chau Island.

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The staff will serve you a tasty traditional Vietnamese lunch made with seafood caught fresh right in the area! Munch on as you see famous islets like the Incense Burner Islet, Fighting Cock Islet, Thumb Islet, among others. You’ll then arrive to Surprising Cave, which is the largest and arguably most beautiful in the bay.

After this, paddle around by kayak or bamboo boat at the Luon Cave, where the natural limestone mountains dip low to create a secluded spot that has remained practically untouched for thousands of years.

You’re sure to burn some calories throughout these explorations, so head over to Titop Island and relax on the beautiful beach before partaking in a fun sunset party on the sundeck!


 More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

5. Ha Long Bay Cruise Day Tour From Hanoi

Ha Long Bay Cruise Day Tour From Hanoi

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 6 to 12 hours
  • Departure: Pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: 8:30 to 9:15, depending on pickup spot
  • Includes:Lunch onboard, restroom on board, all entrance fees & tickets, kayaking & swimming, English speaking guide, round trip shuttle bus from Hanoi to the boat & returns

The Ha Long Bay Cruise Day Tour – Best Selling: Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking & Lunch is another tour comparable to the one we just covered. It’s affordable, it’s customizable, and it covers a lot of landmarks in a short amount of time. Put on your sunscreen and sense of adventure, because you’re in for a real treat with this one!

Just like with the others, you’ll be picked up in the morning from your accommodations. However, the time does depend on where you’ll be picked up from.

If you’re staying in Hanoi Old Quarter, then it’ll be around 8:30 am. If you’re getting picked up from the Tuan Chau Marina Harbour, it’ll be around noon. First stop of the day is the Hanoi Opera House, which was erected by the French colonial administration in the early 1900s.

You’ll then set off to Tuan Chau Marina Harbour where you’ll learn about keeping safe onboard and what you can expect. Cruise along the serene bay which has been carved away over centuries by the wind and water.

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See countless series of towering limestone islands and islets emerging intermittently from the sage waters. Arrive to Surprising Cave, which looks like you’ve landed on another planet!

Complete with massive stalactites and stalagmites, it features colored lighting and interesting pathways to add to the experience. After this, visit Titop Island, where you can choose to swim below or climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the bay.

No matter what, you’re going to be able to revel in this natural beauty and learn all about the history of this majestic place.


 More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience

Hanoi Tour Guide

best halong bay tours

Getting There

While there are flights that head straight to Hanoi, many visitors opt for an indirect flight routed through Bankok, Singapore, or Hong Kong. This is because the flights are typically much cheaper this way. If you would like to add on a day or two at one of these locations, it’s a great way to see another city/country while saving some money.

There are many airlines that service both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and offer an open-jaw ticket, so you can fly into one and leave from the other. This is perfect if you’re going to stay in other parts of Vietnam aside from Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Prices do vary quite a bit, with July and August, Christmas, and New Year’s typically being the highest.

Getting Around

Hanoi is relatively easy to get around, but the method in which you use depends on your priorities.

Taxis – These are probably the most convenient for most travelers, however, it’s going to cost you. Not only that, but it’s not uncommon for taxi drivers to rip you off if they think you’re a tourist. Of course, Hanoi is a more affordable city but if you’re looking to save then you may want to opt for another method of transport.

Bikes – Bikes are very affordable (around a dollar per day) and easy to rent, but it’s not exactly recommended. Why? Because Hanoi’s drivers don’t exactly follow any kind of law. You’re better off using a motor vehicle yourself.

Motorcycle Taxi Cabs – These are quick and affordable, especially if you aren’t traveling very far. Unlike regular cabs, they don’t come with meters, so make sure to settle on a firm price before hopping on. Oh, and make sure to wear a helmet! If you’re unsure of how much to pay for your journey, it’s best to ask your hotel concierge their opinion and write it down or put it in your phone’s notes.

Cyclo – These fit 1-2 passengers, and are perfect for navigating through the Old Quarter’s narrow streets. It’s more about the experience rather than the transport itself, though.

Bus – Coming in red, white, and yellow, these cover all the famous attractions around the city, along with the Hanoi Train Station. The ticket prices do vary depending on where you’re going, but are more affordable than moto cabs usually.

Walking – This is probably the best way to see the city, if you don’t mind putting in some footwork. There are so many hidden gems around Hanoi – especially in the Old Quarter. This is also the area most pedestrian-friendly, fusing the old and new generations.

Where to Stay

The Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem – If this is your first time in Hanoi, this is where you’re staying. It’s located right in the heart of it all, with accommodations meant to suit any type of budget. Not only that, but some of the biggest attractions and best restaurants are found here.

For a luxury option, check out the Hanoi La Siesta Central Hotel & Spa.
For a nice mid-range option, the Hanoi Marvellous Hotel and Spa is a nice choice.

If you’re on a budget, the Hanoi Esplendor Hotel & Spa is a fantastic option.

West Lake/Tay Ho – If nightlife or top-notch gastronomy are a vital part of your travels, we recommend staying in Tay Ho. Luxe hotels, fine dining, and upscale everything is found here. However, don’t be fooled – there are plenty of affordable places to eat and lay your head, too.

We recommend the InterContinental Hanoi West Lake for beautiful views and upscale service. For the best bang for your buck, the Elegant Suites Westlake is fantastic.

Ba Dinh – Are you bringing along the whole family? If so, you’ll appreciate the laidback vibes of Ba Dinh. It’s very walkable, with beautiful botanical gardens, the Truc Bach lake, and gorgeous architecture. While there aren’t quite as many food or nightlife options, it’s easy to access from here.

Our top choice is the Le Jardin Hanoi which is dripping in luxury, has fast internet, delicious breakfasts, car hire, and much more. Located in the peaceful French Quarter, the Anise Hotel is very affordable yet still offers wonderful views and service.

Hai Ba Trung – Are you the type of person who loves an authentic experience, and throws yourself right in the middle of the action? Then check this place out! Located right next to the Old Quarter, you have everything available to you.

We like La Casa Hotel Hanoi for great views, an enclosed plunge pool on the roof, and comfortable rooms.  Save some money with the beautiful Emerald Hotel Hanoi.

Restaurants and Eating Out

  1. Bánh Mì 25 – If you look up the best banh mi in the city, this is probably going to be at the top of your results. Despite this, it’s still filled with mostly locals, due to its deliciously-authentic flavors and competitive prices.
  2. Bami Bread – These are “Hoi-An-Style” banh mi, which are thinner, crispier, and overall lighter. It’s not as heavy and are perfect for snacking on while venturing around.
  3. Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan – This legendary pho location has been serving up this savory soup since the 60s, with tender meat, delicate flavors, and consistency that makes it a local favorite. No matter what time you go, you’re probably going to encounter a line, but it’s worth the wait.
  4. Bun Cha Dac Kim – This is one of the best restaurants for bun cha: a traditional regional dish of grilled fatty pork in a soupy bowl and pickled vegetables with rice. Their crab spring rolls are the perfect side!
  5. Bánh Cuon Bà Xuân – Located close to Truc Bach Lake, mostly locals come here and it gets packed. These rice rolls are soft and chewy, and are an excellent snack.
  6. La Terrasse Du Metropole – Located in the plush Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, expect delicacies like oysters, French cheeses and cold cuts, streak-frites, coq-au-vin, or even just a coffee. It’s fancy and delicious.
  7. Sen 60 Ly Thai – Yet another sophisticated spot, this is a buffet housed in a beautiful neocolonial building. Inside, you’ll find supreme seafood selections like sashimi, crab, escargot, and more.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Hanoi has a vibrant nightlife with varied selections sure to satisfy just about anyone. While it may be known as “conservative’, it’s absolutely not! You just have to know where to go and who to go with.

Dragonfly – This club may not look all that lively on the outside, but once you step inside you’ll realize that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover! With gorgeous lighting and a lively dancefloor, it’s a fun place to smoke shisha, sip a cocktail, or just hang out with friends!

Craft Beer Pub – The name is straightforward enough, as it’s literally a pub that offers craft beer. You’ll find a nice offering of both locally-brewed and imported beer from Europe. If you want to find a place to grab a refreshing beer and watch the big game, this is it.

1900 Le Theatre – This club is housed in a very interesting spot standing on the remains of a burnt-down theater. If you’re looking to dance the night away with mainstream music complete with a DJ, this is it. It gets pretty crowded, so we do recommend coming with at least one other person.

Hair of the Dog – Perhaps you want something less noisy and more casual. The Hair of the Dog is very relaxed and ideal for nice conversation and meeting others. The first floor is for locals while the second is for foreigners.

Standing Bar – Yet another ultra-creative name, here you’ll drink your beer while standing up. Enjoy gorgeous lake views while sipping on one of their 16 types of craft beer, or enjoy some comedy shows on Saturday nights!

88 Lounge – Are you looking for a prime location for date night? 88 Lounge is sophisticated, with garden and sofa lounge environments to sit and chat in all night long.

Savage – This is one of our favorite places, with a great sound system, underground electronic music, and friendly locals.


Oh boy, can Hanoi’s weather get intense. The wet season is muggy, hot, and overcast so air conditioning in vehicles and hotels is a must. However, the dry season is pretty comfortable and clear – albeit a bit humid. Temperatures range from around 50 to 90 degrees throughout the year. You’ll probably want to bring a jacket just in case, no matter what season you visit.


Old Town Quarter – We’ve talked quite a bit about this area of the city, but only because it has so much to offer! A maze of alleyways located in the heart of the city, its history spans over 1,000 years. Mixed with medieval architecture and more traditional Vietnamese design, it’s a great way to get to know the local culture.

Here, you can find St. Joseph’s Cathedral constructed in 1886 and is a memento left behind from the French colonial era.

Hoan Kiem Lake – A beautiful, tranquil spot located right on the edge of the Old Town Quarter, it’s a place to stroll around and clear the mind. Head down the red bridge and you’ll see Ngoc Son Temple, which was made in honor of 3 important figures: La To, Van Xuong, and Train Hung Dao.

Temple of Literature – This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, unique places. Originally constructed as a university in the 11th-century, Confucianism and literature was taught here at one time.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – This was once a location of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese. Consisting of many museums and monuments, the mausoleum is a gorgeous marble structure where Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body sits in a glass display. Whether that’s something interesting or weird is up for debate, but it’s certainly a place where you’ll learn a lot about the country’s history and people.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – This museum holds a fantastically large national collection dating back thousands of years in some cases. These meticulously-curated collections consist of countless artifacts and art pieces including intricate carvings, traditional clothing, and more.

Hoa Lo Prison – Yet another construction from the 19th-century French colonialists, this building was used to keep Vietnamese revolutionaries and essentially anyone else who thought to go against their ruling. Not only that, but many American POWs were kept here during the Vietnam War, including John McCain.

Imperial Citadel – Once the seat of military power in Vietnam, it currently holds the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only is the architecture impressive, but there’s a bunker dating from the Vietnam War where interesting artifacts are displayed.

Thailand – While you are over in Vietnam you should take a trip an explore Thailand as well. There are some spectacular places to visit. Be sure to take a tour of the Phi Phi Islands and the famous James Bond Island from the movie, “The Man With The Golden Gun”.


  1. Don’t show off expensive gear. This includes cameras (unless you’re taking photos), jewelry, watches, and make sure your wallet is secure and close to you.
  2. Keep on top of your visa situation. Many nationalities require a visa in advance to stay for a maximum of 30 days. You can use an online visa agent as well, which could be the easiest way.
  3. Plan for traffic. Known for its large quantity of bikers, there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of honking. When on the road, it’s complete lawlessness and chaos, so be prepared. When crossing the road you do need to be assertive but watch out for oncoming traffic.
  4. The exchange rate is confusing. Most times, when dealing with money it’s going to be in 6 figures. For example, 100 USD currently equals around 2,340,000 Vietnamese Dong. When you’re paying, it’s easy for someone to rip you off as making mistakes/purposeful errors with notes is also simple when dealing with so many.
  5. Don’t drink the tap water. Better yet, don’t drink any water at all unless it’s a sealed bottle of water.
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The Halong Luxury Day Tour is our Editors Choice for the best Halong Bay cruise

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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